Archive for April, 2010

Tennis Lessons – No Fear Of Losing

By · April 30, 2010 · Filed in Mindset · No Comments »

I have taught tennis players from all competitive levels not to dwell on past failures, but to keep moving forward, to always look ahead and never look back when.

I teach them that bad cycles will occur, so they should stay relaxed, wait for the cycle to change and the tide WILL turn….if they keep the right mental attitude.

I give them phrases like, “the next shot is more important than the last mistake.” Or, “in order to be good I have to make mistakes.”

I prepare them for the inevitable frustrations that will happen when they learn and play tennis. Does it work? Yes, most of the time, but sometimes the overwhelming negatives are just too much for the players’ emotions. As a result, they begin to analyze their foibles incorrectly. They whine, “All my practice and tennis lessons and look at what I have done! I couldn’t even make an easy shot. I’m such a horrible player.” Their focus goes off course; they drown in a flood of negatives. Usually all this drama begins because they are losing, NOT necessarily because they are playing poorly.

Let me tell you what tennis coach Robert Lansdorp saw in Maria Sharapova when he watched her play tennis at 14 years old. Even while she was suffering a devastating loss, throughout the entire match she continued to go for her shots again and again and again. Coach Lansdorp recognized this as the number one quality for a great player. You, too, should remember that if everything falls apart in your tennis game you can grab onto this one principle and ride out the storm!

In an article in Tennis Life Magazine (June 2005), the writer Alix Ramsay states: “By the time [Sharapova] was 14 and losing in her first professional tournament … Lansdorp knew he was onto something good. Mopping up the tearful teenager after she had been roughed up by an older, more experienced girl on the slow clay court, Lansdorp tried to convince Sharapova and Yuri [her father] that everything would work out all right in the end. Sharapova was going to make it.”

Lansdorp said, “I saw right there, the way she played: she played without fear. She wasn’t good enough that day because she would miss a ball, her shots weren’t accurate enough, but she had no fear of hitting it. She would never hold back or be afraid to lose. Every great champion, they have that when they walk on the court: they have no fear. They hate to lose but they are not afraid to lose.”

Did you catch the irony? Sharapova just got destroyed in a tennis match and Coach Lansdorp thinks she is unbelievably fantastic and is going to make it! What is this all about?

Before I go on, let me tell you something about Robert Lansdorp. He coached and was instrumental in the careers of Pete Sampras, Tracy Austin and Lindsay Davenport. I believe he may be someone we just might want to pay attention to! Maria Sharapova was brought to him for tennis lessons at the age of 11 because she had potential. Someone got that one right!

Did you notice that after Sharapova lost the match, Lansdorp did not say, “she is missing too much, that’s the big problem here. I have to straighten all of that out.” To Lansdorp, missing when she played tennis was irrelevant. Instead he keyed in on the fact that she had no fear of hitting the ball and no fear of losing. He totally ignored the loss!

Let me put this into simple terms for you. The most important principle to master when you play tennis is, “No fear of losing!”

Of course Lansdorp will go back to the drawing board with more tennis lessons and improve Sharapova’s consistency and accuracy, but that was NOT his main focus after the devastating loss. His focus was her mental attitude.

In Lansdorp’s mind she was a winner not because she won or lost a match, but because she lost with the correct mental attitude. This is the stuff of champions!

Champions do not win all the time – they just never give up trying! Maria Sharapova never quit in that match; she just kept swinging and swinging and swinging. To this day she is still swinging away when she plays tennis. In fact, she swung her way to a Wimbledon title!

Now wipe the frown off of your face, get back on the courts, play tennis and keep fighting…I don’t care how many times you lose! That is the stuff of champions.

Tom Veneziano is a professional tennis coach who runs a successful website offering online tennis lessons. Find out how you can learn to play tennis like a pro.

How to Get Rid of Tennis Elbow

By · April 29, 2010 · Filed in Coaching · No Comments »

Tennis elbow affects people who are in the age group of 35-65 years, usually associated with a pain on the outside of the elbow, tennis elbow as the name might suggest, does not affect only tennis players, in fact 95% of all reported cases in the Unites States alone are not reported by tennis players.

Progressive stages of tennis elbow as:

Stage 1 – Inflammatory changes that are reversible
Stage 2 – Non-reversible changes to the tendon of the Extensor Carpal Radialis Brevis muscle
Stage 3 – Rupture of Extensor Carpal Radialis Brevis muscle tendon
Stage 4 – Secondary changes to the tendon such as fibrosis or calcification

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis will begin with a thorough history of the patient and their activities. Often patients will report morning stiffness in the affected elbow. Also reports of weakness with simple activities like lifting groceries or turning a doorknob may also be reported.

The following orthopaedic tests will be helpful in diagnosing a Tennis Elbow;Mills test, Cozen’s test, Book test and joint play. In fact Cozen’s test is also sometimes called; the “Tennis Elbow” test.

Below are some home cure tennis elbow treatments that you can use:

Rest. You should try as much as possible to rest your fingers, wrist, and forearm muscles.

Elevate your elbow. As much as possible you should try to elevate your elbow as this will help to relieve the pain and reduce any swelling in your wrist and forearm.

Use ice packs. You should try to place an ice pack on the injured area at least three times a day for the duration of your injury. This will help with the pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Tennis elbow treatment methods are just as varied as are the ways of developing tennis elbow. Your family physician may refer you to a physiotherapist for some temporary pain relief but the truth of the matter is that you don’t have to spend your hard earned cash on endless trips to the physiotherapists or doctors.

Ginger: Powdered dry ginger is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Take one to two capsules  (500 to 1,000 mg) twice a day with food.

Ibuprofen will also help reduce inflammation and reduce pain but it is not a good idea to take large consistent dosages. Use Ibuprofen only to aid other treatments.

Frequently drinking water throughout the day not only hydrates you, but will also help reduce constipation.

Manual Therapy: Often called body works, manual therapy involves a trained professional carefully exercising the injured parts, and actually attempting to fix the marginally displaced bones, or tendons back in there place.

A cold compress held against the elbow joint is the best tennis elbow treatment as this brings about an immediate contraction in the connective tissues present in the elbow joint and eliminates the pain.

Referral:Do not try to do it all yourself, get a medical specialist to have a look at the injury and determine tennis elbow treatment for you.

If none of the above treatment methods are working and your symptoms are getting much worse, then you need to see your family doctor as you may have something more serious going on – like a broken bone. You will need to have a specialist look at your injury and correctly diagnose that you are suffering from tennis elbow.

Read about Depression Medications, and also read about selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin syndrome symptoms

Injuries after 40

By · April 20, 2010 · Filed in Fitness · No Comments »

If you have reached your mid-40’s and you enjoy playing in tennis, basketball or racquetball leagues, there is a good chance that you have experienced lower back pain. Although you may not feel much different than you did in your 20’s, your body has, in fact, changed and your exercise routine needs to change as well.

Assuming you have no significant medical issue such as a herniated disc or ligament tear, and you follow your doctor’s advice about exercise, there is no reason why you cannot remain competitive in your leagues for many years to come.

An effective warm up routine help prevent strains and sprains and may help prevent more serious injuries as well. There are any number of effective warm up routines – you can use the following routine as a starting point for your own pre-exercise stretching.

Your warm up routine should become a habit. Middle aged bodies are extremely susceptible to muscle and ligament strains and tears if you begin vigorous exercise without proper hydration and warm up. (more…)

Preventing Injuries

By · April 12, 2010 · Filed in Fitness · No Comments »

Having played tennis for over ten years now, I have always been looking for effective ways and tennis tips to improve my game and my overall enjoyment of the game. In previous years, I found that with the rapid bursts of acceleration, frequent side to side motions, lunges and stretches common to tennis, I suffered from repeated injuries, especially in my neck/shoulders, knees, back and calf muscles. Also, I found that if I played long matches in the summer heat, I was very susceptible to cramping in my legs and hands, which always seemed to happen at the most critical point in the match. These injuries and cramp issues were seriously impacting my enjoyment of tennis. It was at this point that I decided to do some research.

After talking to many people and lots of ‘Googling’, it turns out that I was making the very common mistake of playing tennis not just for enjoyment, but as my primary method of keeping fit. This is a big mistake and the primary reason I was so prone to injuries. My wife (also a keen tennis player) and I decided to join our local gym and seek out the advice of a fitness professional. Fortunately, we found a personal trainer who did lots of research on tennis related exercises and conditioning and so we started on a program to improve our overall fitness. This is one of the best tennis tips I know. The exercises were specifically targeted towards the muscle groups important to tennis players. After several months, I found that my overall strength, agility, speed and stamina had improved to the extent that I was now starting to win a lot more of my tennis matches. My weight also decreased, which meant that I was faster on court and there was less stress on my knees. Perhaps more importantly, I was not suffering from the repeated injuries and cramp problems that had plagued me in the past. (more…)

Bouncing Back from Failure!

By · April 12, 2010 · Filed in Mindset · 1 Comment »

What is it that keeps an athlete coming back for more when the odds are stacked against them? What is it that drives an athlete tipped as the favourite to win to keep going when the gold medal is no longer within their grasp? What motivates great Olympians like downhill skier Hermann Maier to pick themselves up and carry on after a horrific spill on the slopes that left the viewing public convinced he must be dead?

Inner strength comes from a desire to succeed; an ambition to achieve goals. Those goals are as individual as the athletes who set them but research into how competitive athletes define success has shown that there are three main types of goal:

Mastery

Mastery goals, also known as task goals, are those associated with self-improvement. Achieving technically excellent form or achieving any sort of personal best performance constitutes success. Athletes motivated by mastery-oriented goals strive to continually improve their performance, irrespective of whether they win or not.

Ego

Ego goals, also known as ability goals, are those associated with demonstrating high ability. Athletes motivated by ego-oriented goals constantly strive to prove their ability by performing better than everyone else – winning is everything. How they win is secondary. The majority of athletes who make it into the Olympic arena do so because of ego-oriented goals: a need to win. (more…)